Clarify for College Ministries is a vocational discernment program for college undergraduates considering a call to Christian leadership. The program combines the weekly, guided study of excerpts from a wide variety of classical and contemporary texts with the experience of living in intentional Christian community and leading campus ministry. The combination of study, prayer, leadership and community is designed to guide the student to a deep appreciation of the call to Christian leadership and the process of discerning how that call applies to them. The objective is for each student to emerge from the two-year program with a clear understanding of lay and ordained leadership, working familiarity with a variety of spiritual practices of discernment that may help them choose the path that is right for them, and extensive experience in Christian community life and leadership.
The program is intended to be implemented by college ministries interested in developing the leadership potential of undergraduate juniors and seniors. College ministry leaders will select individuals showing interest and potential for Christian leadership to live together in Christian community for their final two years of college. Ideally, the program will include both juniors and seniors so that a new class of rising juniors can join an experienced group of rising seniors each year. The Clarify curriculum is designed with entry points at the beginning of each academic year, making it possible for new students to join experienced students annually. Ideally, each of the program participants will be assigned a leadership role within the student ministry, exposing them to the practical aspects of ministry in a familiar and supportive environment. The Clarify curriculum is a workbook containing 64 weekly study guides, designed to fit into four semesters of 16 weeks each. The guides move generally chronologically (from early Christianity through modern time) through each academic year, resetting at lesson 33. That structure allows new groups of students to join the study at lesson 1 or 33 without duplicating content. The weekly study guides refer to chapters within four books selected for this program.
The four source books are:
• Placher, William C., ed. Callings: Twenty Centuries of Christian Wisdom on Vocation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.
• Schwen, Mark R. and Bass, Dorothy C., eds. Leading Lives That Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.
• Elaine A. Heath, The Mystic Way of Evangelism: A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008).
• David Keller, Come and See: The Transformation of Personal Prayer (New York: Morehouse, 2009).
Each weekly study guide includes a brief summary of the reading, questions to stimulate discussion, and a spiritual exercise related to the reading. The program anticipates that the program participants will meet weekly under the direction of an experienced and mature guide, preferably the pastor who leads the college ministry. The one hour meeting will unpack the reading for the week, leading to thoughtful examination of the discernment or vocational calling topic at hand. After a thirty-minute discussion, the focus will shift to the spiritual exercise, with the group working together to encounter the topic or issue through prayer and contemplation. The weekly rhythm should establish a habit of addressing spiritual issues with both the mind and the heart, and should allow the deepening and sharpening of prayer and the spiritual senses.